Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Blue or red? Political choice is everything in DC, even at stores

By Edith Leung

In the run-up to election day, people can not only vote early at the polls, they can also vote with their wallets at restaurants and other stores.

The lime burrito (left) represents Obama, and the queso burrito is for Romney.

At Columbia Heights in Washington D.C., the restaurant Lime Fresh Mexican Grill offers two flavors of burritos, queso flavor for Mitt Romney and lime flavor for Barack Obama. One of the workers, Sarah Issa, said that the queso burrito is more popular than the lime burrito. So does that mean Lime Fresh’s customers are mostly Republican?

“Though the queso is more popular, people here are usually Democrats. It is just an advertising strategy,” said Issa.

A 24-year old American banker, Michael Walker, also said that he purchased his burrito for its flavor, not for its political gimmick. “I am still undecided between the two candidates,” said Walker.

Beyond taste, the shop also raised funds for the two parties, and customers’ political leanings were more obvious: the Republican piggy bank was empty.

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Ben’s Chili Bowl: Where hot dogs and politics come together

By Edith Leung

Nothing says “America” like a hot dog, and that’s more true at Ben’s Chili Bowl than anywhere else.  The Washington establishment, which has 54 years of history, is as famous for its American politics and celebrities as it is for its hot dogs.

The restaurant, at 1213 U Street, is well-known for its chili dogs, half-smokes and milkshakes. It has been an integral part of the neighborhood since its founding in 1958. The restaurant is in a historically African-American neighborhood, a stone’s throw away from Howard University. Inside, the walls are covered with photos of celebrities including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and comedian Bill Cosby (who took his future wife to Ben’s when they  were dating).

President Obama has also visited the restaurant, which is known to attract Obama supporters.

So how did this eatery become such a popular hangout for political buffs?

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Portrait of a young campaigner

By Karen Chan and Wendy Chan

What is the image that comes to mind when you think of young political campaigners. Willful, impatient or quick to come to a decision? Or a combination of all of the above?

David Elizondo, 23, says he was not hasty when he got involved in politics.

David Elizondo’s iPhone case shows his support for Obama.

“I made my own decision by observing and learning,” said Elizondo, who started to volunteer for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in late October in Washington D.C.

He said he had been following the debates and the media coverage and decided to campaign for the Democrat. “In fact, my parents are Republicans,” he added.

This is his first time voting. Four years ago Elizondo did not vote because he felt like he wasn’t familiar with what was going on that time.

This is also the first time that the native Texan (he moved to D.C. recently) volunteered for the Obama campaign. So what will he be doing?

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Young Obama campaigner goes the distance

By Wendy Chan

David Elizondo believes Barack Obama will protect the rights of Americans.

Meet David Elizondo. On this rainy and gray Sunday in Washington D.C. before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, Elizondo sits at Ben’s Chili Bowl a local restaurant famous for their celebrity customers including Hillary Rodham Clinton, comedian Bill Cosby and Obama supporters.

Elizondo, 23, is one of the many young political activists in Washington who is working hard to get Barack Obama reelected as President of the U.S.

In addition to volunteering at Obama’s campaign office here in Washington D.C. he said he will help the Obama campaign in Ohio, a key swing state that is up for grabs for the Democrats or Republicans.

Being a campaign volunteer is a lot of work and is time-consuming. This is his first time volunteering directly for the Obama campaign. However, he works at the Human Rights Campaign and he together with other volunteers endorse political candidates. They have endorsed Obama for this election so a lot of the work they do and money they raise goes to Obama.

“Obama’s reelection would be the greatest reward for me. He supports gay rights including marriage equality and equal rights in the workplace,” he said. “I think he is better than [Republican candidate] Mitt Romney because he actually makes the difference and works for those rights.”

Elizondo came from Houston, TX. He went to Texas A&M University and came to DC to work for the Human Rights Campaign and to get out of Texas for a while. His family are Republicans. Four years ago, Elizondo said he did not vote in the 2008 presidential election because he thought he was not mature nor educated enough. Now he has university education.

Fast forward to 2012, as a campaign volunteer, Elizondo helps voters go through a sometimes complicated process of registering and casting their ballots. He even helps drive some people to the polls so they can vote.

“I also knock on people’s doors and explain why they should vote for Obama,” he said.

“Some people do not have transportation, so we may offer to drive them to the polls,” he said. “We just want people to get out and vote, and I believe it definitely makes a difference.”

President rushes back to White House over Sandy emergency

By Edith Leung

Sandy, downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm, blew through DC on Monday night, leaving at least 11 dead and 5.3 million people without power. President Barack Obama canceled his campaign trip to Florida and rushed back to the White House to deal with the Sandy emergency.

The president warned East Coast Americans that “this is going to be a big and powerful storm,” but he believes all across the eastern seaboard appropriate preparations were being made.

The so-called “superstorm” is hitting tens of millions citizens living on the East Coast of the United States and has made landfall in New Jersey. In Washington D.C, the storm is strengthening as shops stay closed.

Campaign Ads As Invisible Weapons in the Presidential Battle

By Karen Chan

“We cannot take four more years.”

This according to the advertisement by Mitt Romney’s campaign.

That is the most common slogan appearing on campaign ads for Romney. Commercials don’t only promote candidates, they can also be used as a weapon.

In the Romeny campaigns latest advertisement, people from different social classes speak for Romney.  They mainly focus on how badly their lives have been during the past four years. They think the economy and social policies such as welfare and health care are worse than four years ago.

Romney supporters say they cannot survive if they spend another four years with President Obama. As seen in such an ad, Romney rarely talks about what he will specifically do in the future, and simply attacks the opponent first.

On the other hand, Obama’s ads seem to be more sentimental. He tries to appear sincere to touch voters’ heart.

“It’s an honor to be your president. Together we can keep moving America forward,” said Obama in one of his advertisements. He indicates what he is going to do in the next four years in his new commercial such as investing in more manufacturing, boosting the American energy sector, reducing the deficit by cutting the budget, impose new tax regulations that the wealthy needs to pay more, ending the war in Afghanistan and rebuilding America.

Of course, Obama does not miss any chance to slam his competitor. He attacks Romney by pointing out the disadvantages that he will bring. For example, Romney will create a voucher system for Medicare, make drastic cuts in education, cuts taxes for the wealthy and make middle class families pay more, according to the Obama ad.

One thing that their advertisements have in common is that at the end of each advertisement, both candidates simply say “I am Barack Obama [or Mitt Romney], and I approve this message.”

Romney’s slogans mainly focus on change.

An advertisement for Obama aims to attract young voters.

Policy versus personality: DC voters appear to lean toward Obama

By Wendy Chan

Some voters are focused on policy, while others are zeroing in on personality.

Let’s start with women voters, who are a vital and diverse group. In our interviews with people in Washington D.C., it seems that a majority of them support President Barack Obama.

Katie Pashalide, an Asian American environmental researcher living in Washington D.C., said she will definitely vote for Obama. She criticized Mitt Romney’s foreign policy as not comprehensive and mature enough for the U.S. Katie’s mother is Taiwanese and her father is an Indo-American. They support Obama because they believe he still needs time to fix the problems in the U.S. On November 6, she will cast her ballot in Southern California.

Washington D.C. is not quite a battlefield between Republicans and Democrats because it is considered primarily Democratic. Cesar Goures, a systems analyst, is determined to cast his ballot for Obama.

“Barack Obama sends out a clear message, while Mitt Romney tried to tear people down in his speech, and little jobs will be offered according to his proposed policy,” said Goures. He said that as a voter, he would like to see “what the candidates can do for our future.”

Shayla Yhimpson, a saleswoman at a supermarket, believes that Obama is the most suitable candidate.

“I am satisfied with most of the policies that Obama has implemented. I am not a Romney supporter, and he is always looking out for the upper class. He also just goes back and forth [in policy stance],” she sad. As a black woman, she said that race isn’t a factor in her decision.

“If he [Obama] were white, he would put forth the same kinds of policies that are pro young people and promote low taxes,” she said. “These policies will definitely enhance our living.”